There is much to be said for the simple, direct observation of our immediate surroundings, and the artistic expression of that observation.
I find the results often have a visual charm that comes from the unassuming honesty of the act of observing and recording, unrestrained by the intention of “creating a work”.
I see some of that simplicity of intention and directness of observation in the small gouache paintings of Massachusetts painter Laraine Armenti.
You will find them as you browse through her blog, simple observations that look as though she has cast her eyes about the room and made a subject of whatever they find.
Her direct, often delightfully graphic gouache studies are frequently accompanied by ink drawings of the same scene. I don’t know if these are preliminary or are actually done after the gouache paintings, but they are apparently done in the same session.
You will also find small landscapes on both her blog and her website, often in oil, as well as small still life paintings in oil (images above, bottom).
Armenti majored in etching at the Rhode Island School of Design, but also studied art history, painting and photography; and went on to pursue a three year study of the figure in the studio of Ronald Rizzi. She established an 18 year career in illustration and graphic design before transitioning into gallery art.
5 Replies to “Laraine Armenti”
There’s particular charm in gouache paintings, something that can hardly be imitated in other mediums. I think it stems from its inherent limits – opaqueness, matte finish and the fact that they’re unsuitable for smooth value gradation. Best gouache artists succeeded to use those “drawbacks” to their advantage. Think Wyeth, Robert McGinnis or Syd Mead.
“Thank You for the artistic blog
Beautiful body paintings“
I agree. Visual charm is an element I often identify in gouache paintings for many of the reasons you mention. I think the tendency of gouache to make areas of relatively flat color lends itself to paintings that have a graphic sensibility. It also allows for wonderfully sharp calligraphic lines.
Thanks for the review. I live and work in Massachusetts, not Michigan.
Thanks, Laraine. I’ve corrected the reference to Michigan.
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